Monday, 29 April 2013

Time To Give The New Girl A Proper Test!

Ok, not shoreham, but I forgot my phone!
Hello blog lovers.

The time for living in the glory of my marathon is coming to an end! Well, I can still talk about it for the next 20 years, but in the meantime it's back to keeping this Old Girl fit.

I don't have any plans for a mega running race this year, but me and the Old Boy have signed up again for the lovely day out to Bighton in June. So I need to crack on and get some miles under my saddle, and to practise with the new clippies, iron out any mechanical problems, fitting and anything else that may need doing. And maybe even a new summer wardrobe to match my bike!

I have been avoiding going to far on my bike, (fear of falling by not getting out of my pedals and still getting used to my new baby) but this evening I agreed to go up to Halstead, and then on to Shoreham.  This only means one thing! Hills, and hills, oh and more hills! Now I don't like hills, but it's a good practise for me. And also a good test to see if the clipping in and out is really suited to me!

I know my new pedals have helped up the little hills that I have done locally, so now the big test!  We are going up to Halstead!  We decided to go a slightly different route, through Pettswood, then towards Orpington and then join the A21 at Greenstreet Green, then continue the usual way from there to the round about at Halstead.

So far, so good.  The pedals feel great, but for some reason I am still finding myself having to push and pull on the pedals! It's all well and good having the right gear, posh bike that weighs less than  gnats poo, but the fact of the matter is.....I still have to pedal the blooming thing myself! There is nothing really that can make getting up hills any easier for me or anyone. You just have to get on and do it!  Oooo, how I hate hills!

My legs were feeling the burn and that is just getting to the turning for Knockholt Station! But I kept going. Up and up we went, to the roundabout.  My legs were complaining like mad but I didn't want to stop until I got to the top, my mission was to not stop on any hills this evening, but I tried not to think about it.

Getting to Shoreham was scary! The climb up was good! (did I just write that?) At least I didn't get off or stop (or fall off!). But the down hill section, the bits that I used to love, the bits where, before, on my old Giant, I flew down, with virtual abandonment. Now I was hanging on for dear life to the handlebars, gripping the brakes as best as I could!

This is where I found the only mechanical/technical problem that needs sorting,  is it fitting or setting up? Which ever, I found it a bit difficult to put the brakes on while riding on the hoods. My hands became tired and weaker by the time I got to the bottom of one of the hills, just before we turned right to go into Shoreham village, and that road is  yet another downhill section. 

I thought to myself, "Old Girl, you are going to have to look like a professional racing star, and get down on them bars" I can apply the brakes much easier from that position, my hands can reach it a lot better, and besides there is tons more power from that position!

So that is what I did!  The next down hill section found me arse up, hands down, and squeezing those brakes, I guess that is where the similarities end! A professional racer would embrace the hill and tear down it at a gazillion miles an hour! I just gentle inched my way down.

We stopped off at the Kings Arms for a much needed beverage! Then on to Eynsford and ..........that.......Foo Kin Hill!  Getting to Eynsford in the first is  upwards, but  there is a couple of nice cruising spots! We soon arrived at the Ford there.  I won't be taking my new baby through there. I remember the Old Boy did that last year! Nice cool, wet feet for him! A quick stop there to look at the pretty little river and then on to that hill!

The Old Boy did have one little moment, maybe were going a tad to slow, but he changed gear and then his chain came off! The practise with the cleats was evident as he managed to clip out of them in time. That is my fear! Would I be able to clip out in such an emergency?

All sorted, we started to climb up the hill.  "I will be stopping on this hill" I shouted back at the Old Boy "Just do your best, keep pedalling and see how you go" he replied.  I started my assent. I could feel the hill getting steeper and steeper.  In the back of my mind was knowing how much more of this there was.  I  didn't want to go too slow in case I fall from my bike, but I didn't want to push it too hard because I knew I would burn out, ....and it will hurt!!

"I need to stop" I called back to the OB, "Well, just up there, on the bridge, we can have a break"  I got to the bridge and I realised I had done it! I had rode up the whole of the road!  I was pleased with that.  Just catch my breath and then on towards home, and one more nasty little hill.

I rode through the lanes as quick as I could, being in the lanes during the dark part of the day is not good.  We soon got to Orpington.  As we were heading towards the High Street I bumped into (not literally) someone I knew from a long way back. I saw her a few weeks ago when I was out jogging, and now I am seeing her here, a completely different place and I'm doing a different form of exercise! We had a quick chat, and she asked about our lights. She said that she really noticed us as we went passed her especially the back ones (we had pulled up for a few minutes, which is how she caught up to us).  That is always reassuring to know that we can be seen!

We had decided to go up Knoll Rise, this is the nasty little hill I mentioned earlier! It's a fecker of a hill, especially after doing all the other hills! And I have done a marathon you know!  We turned right to begin the ride up! Just at the bottom I had to have a quick stop! The Old Boy went up, I knew he would be waiting for me at the top. "Right Old Girl, get your backside up there now, in one go" I said to myself.  I started up slowly. I really wanted to do it, I didn't want to stop, or walk or anything else but ride up it.  I did it! Just that one silly stop at the bottom. From there on it was riding all the way home without incident! And I really was looking forward to my dinner!

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